MDCH Releases Public Health Consultation For Montmorency County Power Company

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

April 11, 2005

The Michigan Department of Community Health has determined that a Montmorency County power company poses no apparent public health hazard to the surrounding community. The Hillman Power Company plant – located in the village of Hillman – burns wood chips and tire-derived fuel to generate electricity.

During a power failure at the plant in April 2004, ash was released into the air. Due to wind patterns that day, the ash dispersed over and deposited on a local playground, which was being used by school children. Several children had complained of irritated skin and eyes and breathing problems.

MDCH evaluated soil, surface water, and indoor and outdoor air data provided by a private consultant and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Chemicals evaluated were metals and volatile organic compounds.

Although there were complaints of adverse health effects, no chemicals exceeded health-based screening levels. The report suggests that proactive measures, such as erecting a windsock and returning indoors when the wind is blowing from the north, be taken to prevent future exposure to ash emissions. T

he MDCH Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology conducted the Public Health Consultation for the Hillman Power Company under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Information concerning the human health effects of exposure to environmental contaminants can be found on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) web page at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaq.html.